Prado Finds His WHEELZ

Martin Prado‘s hitting bounced back nicely after being affected by a staph infection in 2011. Hitting .300 with double digit HRs should have been expected in 2012. The biggest surprise with him was the 17 SB after only getting 13 total in his 6 previous seasons. The totals put him as the 9th highest rated 2B in Zach Sanders’ 2B End of Year Projections. His 2013 production could be similar to 2012 levels. Maybe. Probably not.

Prado was an effective fantasy player in 2009 and 2010. He hit over .300 each season supported by a plus 0.330 BABIP. Then, he got the staph infection in June 2011. Here is how he hit before and after the infection:

Before: .277/.324/.438 BABIP = .285
After: .244/.283/.339 BABIP = .250

Even though he was not hitting great before the injury, it got worse after he returned. With the off season to heal, he bounced back and got his AVG north of .300 for 2012.

While I would expect his AVG to be around .300 in 2013, I do have some concerns about his HR and SB numbers going forward. He only hit 10 HRs in 2012 which was a four year low. He was even able to hit 13 in his injury filled 2011 season. Here is a look at his power numbers over the past 4 seasons.

Season Age PA/HR FB&HR Dist HR/FB
2009 25 45.7 281 7.6%
2010 26 43.4 285 9.5%
2011 27 34.9/62.2 277/260 7.5%
2012 28 69.0 265 6.2%

The 2011 values are split up into before and after the injury for PA/HR and FB&HR Dist.

He showed a huge power outage in 2012 with 4 year worsts in all 3 categories. With 2011 being injury filled, it is tough to tell if the power will continue down or he may see a bounce in 2013. With a full season of playing time, I could see his HR total as low as 8, or as high as 16.

The 17 SB seemed to come out of no where. It was by far a career high at age 28. Besides the increase in the total number of SB, his success rate increased also.

2009: 25%
2010: 63%
2011: 33%
2012: 81%

While he did get a few of the stolen bases in double steals with Bourn, most were on his own. A new manager (still Fredi Gonzalez) or batting order position (he hit mainly 1st or 2nd in the past) can’t explain the jump.

His 4 year average speed score (3.9) is the same as Michael Young and Robinson Cano. Those 2 aren’t known for their WHEELZ.

I just don’t see any way for the SB number to repeat. Players don’t break out at age 28 in SB. I am sure I could waste a couple of hours and see how often players maintain or improve on a mid career SB breakout, but I am pretty sure it would be slim.

Looking at 2013, I see a low stat line (AVG/HR/SB) of .280/8/5 and a high of .320/16/15. I expect him to be around .300/10/8 and will pay so accordingly. Anything he produces above that value will be gravy.

Besides his production at the plate, Prado has the added value off being qualified at multiple positions. When Zach came out with his list of 2B, I was not surprised to see his name on the list as he seems to be qualified at almost every positions. In 2012, he just played in a handful of games at 2B, so he may not be qualified for it in some leagues. Here are his games played at each position in 2012:

1B: 4
2B: 10
SS: 13
3B: 25
LF: 119

With four possible qualified positions (min 10 games), he will be a decent swing man on a team to help deal with injuries and off days.

Prado was able to bounce back in 2012 with the help of some new found speed. I don’t expect his SB totals to be that high again in 2013. In addition to the drop in SB, he looks like he may be experiencing a loss in power. I expect him to be over valued in 2013, especially with the added bonus of multiple position eligibilities. Don’t over pay for him, as he has the potential to really lay an egg.

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Jeff writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first season in Tout Wars, he won the H2H league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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His homers were down but his doubles were a career high (42), a career high LD%, and a middling .136 ISO.